LEGENDARY actor Mick Lally died after contracting a serious chest infection while battling emphysema.
The Herald can reveal that the 64-year-old, best known for playing Miley Byrne in Glenroe, suddenly passed away from heart failure after taking a turn for the worst.
A sufferer of emphysema, he was admitted to hospital with a pulmonary infection and despite valiantly battling his illness, his heart eventually gave out.
Survived by his wife Peige and their children Saileog, Maghnus and Darach, tributes have been pouring in from luminaries around the world in the wake of his sudden passing.
The actor will be laid to rest tomorrow after a funeral service at 2pm at Newlands Cross Crematorium Chapel. His family have requested that any donations, if desired, be made to The Pakistan Flood Relief Fund.
Meanwhile, his shocked pal and long-term producer Michael Scott has revealed how no decision has been made about the future of The Matchmaker, which was due to resume touring shortly.
"It is very sad and I'm in total shock," said Mr Scott. "We had been doing the play until recently. We were due to bring it to Dundrum this month and then the Helix and on to Waterford," he explained. "I loved working with him and I can't even think about what we're going to do. I can't imagine anyone else in that role and I can't even think about it today. I'm just stunned, I have been knocked for six.
"He was a man full of life and full of energy and I'm going to miss him so much.
"I'm just devastated. When I heard what happened, I just sat on the sofa for two hours and I couldn't even move. It is the end of an icon."
The late actor's long-term friend Mary McEvoy, who played his wife Biddy in Glenroe, said she was also in the dark as to whether to continue with the production.
"I said to Michael Scott, 'let's not do it' but he said 'I think we should because I think that's the very thing he would want' and it is true," she explained.
She went on to describe her stage pal as "great fun" and a "consummate actor."
"He was like something so constant in my life. I wouldn't see him every day -- for months we'd go without talking or speaking because we'd both be doing something else. But when we got together ... we just picked up where we left off and got on with it. I enjoyed his company very much," she said.